Pasta Al Fumo

When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester studying Art in Cortona, Italy. It was magical — the food, the wine, the culture… it was inspiring! I painted or took classes during the week, traveled on the weekends, and spent most evenings enjoying the nightlife of a small Tuscan town. I have such fond memories of my time in Italy and would love to return someday. Until then, it’s always fun to relive the memories by looking at pictures and, sometimes, trying to recreate the extended, casual dinners we enjoyed on those beautiful Italian nights.

As part of the program I attended  with UGA, we dined most evenings as a large group at a local restaurant called Tonino’s. The food was always delicious, and one of my favorite meals they prepared was a Pasta al Fumo (“Smoked Pasta”). A brief internet search turned up this recipe from that very same restaurant! I’m sure the original Italian ingredients make for a better dish, but these American substitutions seemed to work pretty well.

Pasta al Fumo

Serves 4


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole garlic cloves 
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 lb. Bacon
  • 1/4 cup fresh heavy cream
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup Fresh milk
  • 3 T cream cheese
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • Pasta of choice (we use penne or farfalle, about 8 oz)


  • Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan with whole garlic and rosemary. Sauté until fragrant.
  • Add bacon and fry until completely cooked. Drain fat.
  • Return pan to stove and add vodka — stir with caution.
  • Remove garlic and rosemary from the pan
  • Add cream and stir. Add tomato sauce slowly — the sauce should be a light pink, don’t add too much tomato.
  • Add milk and cream cheese. Stir with a whisk to blend. Add more tomato sauce if necessary. Add red pepper flakes (you can leave these out or reduce amount if you prefer less spicy)
  • Cook for several minutes to blend flavors, salt to taste.
  • Serve with freshly cooked pasta, top with parmesan or pecorino cheese, and fresh basil


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